Diagnosing Acute Myeloid Leukemia

Certain symptoms and signs may point to the presence of AML, yet specialized testing is needed in order to make a diagnosis and identify the subtype. At Sheba Medical Center’s Hemato-Oncology Division, we assess each individual’s case thoroughly to figure out which test procedures to perform.

Because AML is generally a fast-growing disease, prompt diagnosis is critical. AML is also relatively rare, which is why it is so important to choose a highly skilled medical team to manage your diagnosis. Our Sheba clinicians and pathologists have been trained at some of the best cancer centers in the world, and we have extensive experience and state-of-the-art technologies to diagnose leukemia quickly and precisely.

Blood Tests

Blood tests are usually the first step in diagnosing leukemia. These include taking a CBC (complete blood count) and a blood smear. Changes in the amount and appearance of different blood cells can help diagnose leukemia.

 

Bone Marrow Samples

Leukemia begins in the bone marrow, so checking bone marrow samples is a significant part of testing for cancer. Typically, both a bone marrow biopsy and a bone marrow aspiration are performed. Cytogenetic analysis is used to examine the cells in a blood or bone marrow sample, inspecting for particular changes in the chromosomes. The results of these diagnostic procedures are highly accurate for detecting AML.

 

Laboratory Tests

Additional laboratory tests are performed to determine the specific AML subtype.

 

Spinal Tap or Lumbar Puncture

A spinal tap or lumbar puncture may be performed to determine whether or not leukemia has spread to the central nervous system.

 

Imaging Scans

Imaging scans may be performed to assess whether AML has spread to the area surrounding the brain and spinal cord.

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